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"Damn those mountain bike hooligans!!!"
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Interesting on 01/02/2013 19:47:48 MST Print View

"I will say that the yield rule from a practical perspective - all biases aside as I'm more of a hiker than mtber - doesn't make much sense depending on the terrain. On 'flowing' trails it is fine - but anything with real up and down it is much harder to stop/start on a bike than on foot. Just saying."

I agree. It's why I've never made a big deal out of stepping out of the way. I don't know, but I imagine bikes are supposed to yield because they came to the party last?

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Its Not the Bike ... Its the Rider on 01/02/2013 19:53:36 MST Print View

So no, I'm not opposed to bikes on trails in general. While the bikes do tear up the trails, the biker groups, at least in my area, work hard to give back to the trails by holding trail work days.

The problem is the age old sports car syndrom.
take an average guy put him in a sports car, he's not the same guy any more.
same with bikes, take an average guy, dress him in armour, put him on a bike, especially going downihll, he's not the same guy anymore.

Yup almost got run over this weekend again. ok so it was just our local wilderness park but still ... we were going up hill they were coming down, we did not get out of the way to be polite, we got off the trail to save ourselves. one of the 6 actually said thanks, but that is unusual, the vibe I got was they felt they owned the trail and we were lucky to be there.

so I'm all for allowing bikes on trails, just no bikers :-)

Edited by asandh on 01/02/2013 19:59:32 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Runners Shrink Wild Place on 01/02/2013 19:57:20 MST Print View

I've heard that argument before too Craig.

I think the counter argument would be that relatively few people have the stamina to do ultra runs or fastpack deep into wilderness areas. So their impact would be relatively minimal. On the other hand their are probably a lot more people who could quickly peddle deep into a wilderness area on a bike so you might have crowding concerns.

Edit - Stock and horses can be annoying at times but use of public land helps ranchers. Environmentalist get annoyed with ranchers at times but in my opinion they should try to make sure they don't go out of business and sell their land for other uses. A cattle ranch is much more scenic and better for wildlife then a subdivision or a golf course.

Edited by Cameron on 01/02/2013 20:06:13 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Yield To... on 01/02/2013 20:03:52 MST Print View

1

Maybe we need to throw out the old signs. After all, they don't always make sense.

What does make sense is yielding to the user that will hurt you the worst if you don't.

I'll start running with a spiked baseball bat.

2

Yield to Craig. That's right.

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
How many trails ban hikers? on 01/03/2013 01:28:39 MST Print View

As far as I know it's only ski resorts where downhill trails exist for a specific reason for a specific group of people. Other than that, I think it's a fair assumption based on even my limited knowledge to say that as a whole, hikers have more trails at their disposal than any other group. I mean afterall, you just show up and start walking. To the hikers being put in harm's way regularly, seriously, go find another trail, for you likely have many more to choose from. Better yet, challenge yourself and go hike a trail that's too challenging to ride a bike down OR up and you can HYOH all you want. We enter the woods at our own risk and we don't all exist in perfect little vacuums of solitude however.

What I'm bothered by are attitudes of entitlement when the only thing we're all entitled to do is enjoy the same areas as we each see fit. That said, the whole concept of banning people from one place or another is a permanent solution to some momentary inconvenience (unless a group is doing serious ecological damage of course). Of all the indignation on display here and elsewhere from hikers, one other consistent pattern emerges: I haven't heard a story of anyone actually getting hurt. Inconvenienced? Yeah. Sure, you saw your otherwise milquetoast life flash before your eyes, probably the same as the weekend warrior who almost made you scrape your knee, but as one cranky ol' troll up there mentioned, pull up a chair and watch youtube. There's a million fail videos posted of hair-raising accidents that while they hurt, weren't life-ending. Plus for every near-miss and the much fewer not-misses that do result in someone getting hurt, there's a far greater likelihood a hiker will twist an ankle, a cyclist will fall, or an equestrian will take a header, with no one to blame but themselves. So honestly, a whole lotta ya need to perhaps grow a lot thicker skin and stop being so fearful; and remember that humans naturally try to avoid accidents and pain as a reflex action despite what you may think.

.....but whining is easier. And so is my own superiority complex for that matter. This is after all, an internet forum and echo chamber.

But seriously, if a lot of you are going to talk about "sharing the trails" you aren't entitled to share AND dictate the use. It's like sharing your sandwich and then telling the recipient how to eat if they don't want you to take it back.

Edited by aeriksson on 01/03/2013 01:33:02 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: How many trails ban hikers? on 01/03/2013 06:27:29 MST Print View

Alec,
Cut back on the late night caffeine. While there is normal some amount of humor in your posts, your rant above is an incoherent temper tantrum. You may find your witty little insults cute but any rational point was lost.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Damn those mountain bike hooligans! on 01/03/2013 09:01:13 MST Print View

The issue sounds complex and differs from area to area. One size does not fit all.

Toolbox:
1. Alternating days for each type of activity (hiking, biking, livestock, dogs)
2. Shared usage with special days scheduled in (biking day, off-leash dog day, etc)
2. Complete ban on one type of activity or the other
3. Warning signage and educational materials for shared trails
4. Trail cleanup/repair programs funded and conducted by each usage group
5. other ideas??

Each trail is assessed individually and different combinations of these tools are applied according the needs of that particular trail/wilderness area. I know some trails which could benefit from #1, where folks might be happy just to go on certain days of the week and have a reasonable expectation of not getting run over. Other trails are so perfect for downhilling and have alternate hiking paths, those might benefit from #2 so that bikers get their own trail and hikers get their own. Still others are flat wide trails and really just need a little of #3 if anything at all. #4 just makes sense for any area heavily used for a particular activity. Different strokes for different folks. Why cant we be friends?

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Re: How many trails ban hikers? on 01/03/2013 09:16:44 MST Print View

As hikers, we have the "premium access" to trails, ie all public trails are open to us. Other user groups, be they human-powered, animal-powered or motor-powered have less. In terms of impact per person, we hikers have more impact on the trail than a single bike, less than a single horse and less than a single motorcycle -- according to tread impact studies done specifically for this purpose. A similar study also concludes that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and both will be contested by kooks and loonies. The nature of impacts to tread are different among the user groups, and there are different populations of each in different places.

If one were to leap backward into the 1990's, it would be very de rigeur to claim soft-tired bicycles cause more trail impacts than hikers and horses, but it was incorrect then, too. Now, standing where we are in 2013, that argument is an old hack that merely illustrates either the proponents' affinity for mindlessly repeating whatever sounds good, a lack of understanding/experience with trail work, or both. Although there are good arguments for limitation of access to user groups, including those infernal mountainbikers, this particular one actually cuts against pack animals and hikers more than it does cyclists.

This is not "backpacking", however. It's really a winter discussion for folks made cranky by their local weather and fantasizing about entitlement and exclusion to Trails Access.

Alec, I understand your point and your frustration, entirely. I just thing this isn't the venue for the discussion -- at least not out of CHAFF.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: How many trails ban hikers? on 01/03/2013 10:21:27 MST Print View

You make some great points Eric.

I don't agree with you that this has nothing to do with backpacking, or that it should be considered "Chaff". I'm not even sure what it being "winter" has to do with the validity of the thread. It has just as much place here as discussing packrafting ad nauseum or backcountry skiing, because we all know how accessible that is to the average BPL member. ;-) A small, but passionate group of cyclists carry gear by mountain bike, self supported into wilderness areas, utilizing lightweight backpacking gear on their backs and on their bikes. These are enthusiasts, like yourself, that enjoy getting outdoors and taking in the sights, sounds, and life out on the trail off the typical "front range" recreation trails. Decisions made by law makers, opinions expressed by the overwhelmingly larger outdoor walking community, and land management groups all impact accessibility to these individuals. When it comes to discussing mountain biking and trail access, things always get emotional, both parties espousing why they should be allowed or who shouldn't, and to what capacity. It is a bit foolish and fruitless, but the issue is going to become more commonplace so no sense in sweepingit under the rug.

Have an admin, if you can find one, relocate the thread to chaff. I could care less.

Anyways, the weather is just fine here, in fact snow is in the forecast and I fully intend to lace up my trail running shoes and hit my local BLM governed wilderness area after work for a few miles, if that's okay with the walkers. I fully intend to be courteous to anyone I come across.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "Damn those mountain bike hooligans!!!" on 01/03/2013 13:14:12 MST Print View

We had similar discussion last year when Dave C posted his articles on bike-packing.

So I went back and copied my post (I am lazy):

"I have hiked on trails that once never saw a MTB, and over time have seen the effects... and the early effects with minimal MTB traffic were quite noticeable right away. It is one thing when a bike simply rolls on a fairly flat trail... probably less damage than a hiker. But when you add in braking, skidding, quick acceleration, sharp turns, jumping over obstacles, ruts in soft soil, etc. the impact is there -- big time. And we cannot quantify behaviors, but I will state that it is much easier for someone not "attuned" to wild places to get there on a MTB, than a hiker. So what I have seen does not compliment the conscientious MTBers who do respect the wilderness. I have seen in many places that the MTB community does fight the attempts to increase the expansion of wilderness areas, because that alone will decrease the number of available MTB trails. I like more wilderness areas. And of course often hikers and MTBs do not mix well on trails.

But we always get down to the basics of what to do with our public lands. Many groups want access and each has their agenda. So how do we meet the needs of everyone?

Then of course there is my solution... blow up all the roads going to wild places, starting with HWY 120. Stop all trail maintenance. Tear down all infrastructure. Quit building new trails. Let the wilderness go fallow. :) But that is only popular with folks like me and the likes of Edward Abbey."

--------------------

Environmentalism or Conservationism or neither? Pick your position, I guess. Any area classified as Wilderness generally does not allow anything mechanical on the trails. And I hate horses worse.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: "Damn those mountain bike hooligans!!!" on 01/03/2013 16:21:35 MST Print View

"Then of course there is my solution... blow up all the roads going to wild places, starting with HWY 120. Stop all trail maintenance. Tear down all infrastructure. Quit building new trails. Let the wilderness go fallow. :) But that is only popular with folks like me and the likes of Edward Abbey."

--------------------

Environmentalism or Conservationism or neither? Pick your position, I guess. Any area classified as Wilderness generally does not allow anything mechanical on the trails. And I hate horses worse."

+1 to your entire post, Nick, but especially the parts I copied. It puzzles me as to why this thread even got off the ground, as the subject was pretty well covered in Dave C's original thread. The main difference I can see is that Dave's thread was downright civil, whereas this one has turned decidedly nasty, which is why I have mostly avoided it up until now. But I can hold my tongue no longer. All the reasons why MB'ers should not be allowed in real wilderness areas have been well stated, by a number of folks with exptensive backcounty experience, so there is no need to repeat them. The tenor of the thread is another matter entirely. Greg has already rightly called out Alex for his rudeness, so I will move on to Erik Basil. Below are excerpts of two highly offensive posts that do, indeed, belong in CHAFF, at best:

"Here, he would find plenty of weak minds quick to drink the kool aid and other weak minds, quick to argue. The "cranky winter doldrums on the internet" haven't even fully settled in and you can already see where this thread lurched off to.

(To the weak-minded, note that I've referred to both sides of the simple issue in the same manner, but that I mean it less for your particular side. This refers to you if you took offense at being rightly noted as weak minded.)... For me, lightweight backpacking is appropriately discrete from trail access issues and best remains so for what I view as the best interests of a fine website, like this. This thread is CHAFF, at best."

Weak minds? Rightly noted? Most of the folks on both sides of the argument are at the very least your intellectual and experiential equals, and many are your superiors, judging from your posts, and theirs over a much longer period of time than you have been a member of BPL. What ever gave you the idea that you could set yourself up as the judge of the cognitive abilities of your peers in the forums in the first place? As for your comment about lightweight backpacking being totally unrelated to trail access issues, all I can say is that someone who is unable to connect those two dots would do well to examine his own cognitive deficiencies before loftily holding forth on the "weak mindedness" of others.

"In terms of impact per person, we hikers have more impact on the trail than a single bike, less than a single horse and less than a single motorcycle -- according to tread impact studies done specifically for this purpose. A similar study also concludes that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and both will be contested by kooks and loonies. The nature of impacts to tread are different among the user groups, and there are different populations of each in different places.

If one were to leap backward into the 1990's, it would be very de rigeur to claim soft-tired bicycles cause more trail impacts than hikers and horses, but it was incorrect then, too. Now, standing where we are in 2013, that argument is an old hack that merely illustrates either the proponents' affinity for mindlessly repeating whatever sounds good, a lack of understanding/experience with trail work, or both."

Again the disdain for your peers. Kooks and loonies? Mindlessly repeating? Lack of understanding of trail work? In the face of first person experience of MB damage to trails by Roger Caffin, Nick Gatel, myself, and doubtless many others who have not bothered to post it? You mention unnamed studies. References please, along with an accounting of the source of their funding. No matter, the "studies" will not trump what I have seen with my own two eyes. In any case, it is not what you say that I take issue with. That is legitimate fodder for debate. What I take issue with is your arogance and lack of respect for your peers. Get over yourself, Erik. There is other intelligent life on this planet.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: "Damn those mountain bike hooligans!!!" on 01/03/2013 17:00:52 MST Print View

To me this is not a question of philosophy or politics but a simple matter of practicality and safety.
How can you have traffic on feet share the same narrow path as people on a metal wheeled machine potentially going faster than the fastest man?
The trails in question may be different from the ones where Im am, I can't see whats around the next corner most of the time and anyone going at any speed can't be expected to either.
The trails have slow moving familys with children and the elderly included.
I would hate to see our nations hiking trails become the exclusive domain of fast moving youths who either bike or are fast and alert enough to dodge them all day pushing the weaker and slower people off the trails to a less dangerous activity.
It just seems to defy common sense to me?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: "Damn those mountain bike hooligans!!!" on 01/03/2013 17:22:49 MST Print View

My only physical altercation as an adult involved me hiking and a mountain biker that hit me on the trail. He walked out.
Edit: That was nearly 25 years ago. I've mellowed.
The two are incompatible on the same single track of trail.

Edited by kthompson on 01/04/2013 19:15:20 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: mtb hooligans on 01/04/2013 07:11:43 MST Print View

Keep it civil folks. Disagree w/out being disagreeable, etc. This isn't chaff unless you make it that.


As I've said before (Nicks link), more than anything I want the mindless blanket rules repealed and management decisions made on a reasonable case by case basis. There are plenty of Wilderness areas and national parks which should allow mountain bikes on some trails. There are crowded, pseudo-urban areas (Tahoe) which will require more intrusive management. California rules shouldn't be applied to Montana, and vice versa.

In reference to the area of the CDT mentioned in the OP, I think the anti-MTB arguments are a red herring. The level of traffic is low enough and the terrain mild enough that there would be little conflict.

As for Monarch Crest, you'd find plenty of MTBers willing to build a second trail in the major sections. It'd take 6 weeks start to finish with proper lead time for recruitment. This is a good example of why people without experience with a given place should refrain from commenting, and how overly general statements are simply not useful here.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
When the noobs get uppity on 01/04/2013 08:31:26 MST Print View

Poor Tom Kirchner. He saw himself and took the bait. Yes, Tom, you've been registered on this site longer than I have, and you've reportedly seen trail damage/wear from bikes. I think we might presume you've seen trail damage/wear from hooves, feet and motorcycles, too. We all have, and that tread wear is both a function of the nature of the tread contact and the frequency of it.

This is the nature of how such Chaff-type threads go: folks with limited experience maintaining trails or dealing with access issues (but quick to opine who they'd like to keep out other than themselves) reinforce themselves be repeating things they've heard over and over until they're sure they've convinced the internet that the world is flat and anything to the contrary is heresy. For those of us with experience dealing with trail building, trails maintenance and access issues, it's all old hat and fairly predictable -- ergo, my comments that included goading references to those who'd hyperventilate: I only defined you as weak-minded if you chose to define yourself as... weak-minded. Res Ipsa Loquitur, Tom.

Bike-packing is cool and I am impressed by those who can do it well, on trails. They take UL to a level beyond even hikers. My characterization of this thread topic as CHAFF is because the issue isn't one of access for hikers -- we have access everywhere -- nor of specific area access for cyclists, but rather a generalized "should there be bike access". That's not "backpacking" and it quickly devolved into postings about trail damage, entitlement and repetition of old saws without correlative basis.

Threads like this tend to flare more in the winter, when we can't hike or backpack as much. It's common. Now, personally, I will be hiking in sunshine on dry trails this weekend (with horses, hikers, runners and bikes), so I certainly recognize we aren't all necessarily in the winter doldrums, but I sure see the effect. Next, someone post something about how Ryan has abandoned the site or something. Folks do need chaff.

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
Trail Damage on 01/04/2013 11:47:37 MST Print View

I certainly don't consider myself an expert at any of this. I don't quote studies, I temper my sarcasm with [hopefully] enough self-effacing banter for those less prone to being butt-hurt to realize that it's in good humor and not an outright flame. Also, it should be noted that I'm pleased to see that this thread, which is actually quite civil by internet standards, even those higher standards put in place by communities of adults, really hasn't devolved into ad hominem attacks.

Anyhow, trail damage. I'd love to see some. I don't say that as a challenge, but as someone who has done a ton of trail maintenance in the past but in an limited (northeast USA) location. Whoever mentioned that at Tahoe the clarity of the water has been effected, while obviously not photographic, at least provides this conversation with a fairly measurable datum. However, there's a lot of "there was a rut that formed once" style comments that, while I appreciate, aren't exactly compelling. Moreover, statements about being inconvenienced or scared once, don't really justify the "Poland in the 1940's" tenor that has been fostered in this thread at times.

Back to what I know.... In the downhill community we tear up trails with high traffic but only in specific places along the trail. Corners get "blown out" from people overshooting them, and are typically rebuilt with, essentially, retaining walls made of rock (wood rots, unless you're lucky enough to be in the PacNW where cedar is common). Low spots that collect water need drainage and are address with simple troughs filled with rocks. "Snaking" is just as commonly created by hikers as it is bikers when someone wants to avoid mud or a standing puddle and decides to go around it creating alternate paths through foliage. But all of these things have solutions. Moreover the reason why maintenance trail days can do a lot of work with only a handful of people is that along multi-mile stretches of trail, it's uncommon to have to treat the entire trail. And so, from people saying that bikers "ruin trails" I'd love to be educated and see how they've destroyed entire trails, or even large swaths of trails.

Overcrowding and rude trail patrons come in all shapes and sizes. I also lend no credence to the "spirit of the trail" arguments because sentiments change over time and things that weren't invented were perhaps unlikely to be considered? Unless someone with a trail named after them, or in power decreeing something as a national resource and trail, specifically said at the outset "by foot only" then it's all convenient self-fullfilling interpretation.

Lastly, in my experience I can say that the worst trail damage I've ever come across was from dirt bikes. We're talking trails left unnavigable even by foot and hand because of 12" deep ruts down to clay that became an ice-rink when wet. Trees roosted with sand and dirt, that sort of thing. So I invite anyone to please educate me with some actual measurable impact by mountain bikers on trails you know and love. Pictures are great. A decent recounting will suffice even. Trail damage is obviously just one facet of this issue, but it's at least the most measurable in theory.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: When the noobs get uppity on 01/04/2013 17:22:46 MST Print View

"Keep it civil folks. Disagree w/out being disagreeable, etc. This isn't chaff unless you make it that."

Wise words, Dave, as usual, which I will try to heed in the rest of this post. I began my previous post with exactly that in mind, as I stated at the beginning, but my anger at Erik's contemptuous disrespect toward those who disagree with him got the better of me. I apologize to the community in advance for those intemperate remarks.

Erik,

As near as I can tell, your main point is that mountain bikes have less impact on trails than hikers. You make vague reference to unnamed tread studies as proving said point beyond dispute. I responded with stated first hand reports by 3 backpackers with, collectively, more than 120 years of backpacking experience in a wide range of environments, on trail and off that contradict your position. I also asked you for specific study references and their sources of support and financing. So far no response to that from you. In the event you do choose to provide those references or other information that supports your position, I am perfectly willing to continue this discussion with you, as long as it is conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, because I think it might add something of value to the discussion. What I am not willing to do is be subjected to the kind of verbal abuse you have shown toward those who disagree with you to date. Yes, I have been on this website for some time, and have come to care about it, and the people who populate it, deeply. Enough so that I will not sit idly by and concede the forums to those who would destroy what has long been largely an atmosphere of mutual respect conducive to vigorous, but civil, debate and exchange of information that ends up benefitting all. You are new here and in the process of establishing your BPL persona, and you have a choice before you. You can continue on your current path and consign yourself to irrelevance, or you can conduct yourself with respect toward those who disagree with you and become a respected member of the community. Personally I hope you choose the latter path. There is always room for one more bozo on this bus.

I will close with two observations: 1) Consider reading through Dave Chenault's thread on this subject. It covered pretty much the same ground, with passionate views on both sides of the argument, but in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect. It stands to this day as a model thread, IMO; 2) As for me "seeing myself and taking the bait", c'mon Erik, I'm not that weak minded. I was upset and took it upon myself to respond on behalf of the community at large. Rightly or wrongly is not up to me to decide, but that was it, pure and simple. A more relevant question is why would you try to bait folks in the first place?

Edited by ouzel on 01/04/2013 17:51:10 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Trail Damage on 01/04/2013 18:46:41 MST Print View

> So I invite anyone to please educate me with some actual measurable impact by
> mountain bikers on trails you know and love.

OK - the Lakes Circuit in the Kosciusko NP in Australia. Very well-known, very popular.

Under very high pressure from the mountain bike lobby (pedal power) the Parks mgt allowed mountain bikes to have access to this loop. We were nearly skittled a few times by bikers coming downhill with their brakes locked, stones flying, and barely under control. Erosion of the track was swift and bad. Lesson learnt, and bikes were again excluded.

It cost an incredible sum to repair the worst-hit bits of this track and it took years of work. In the end they had to stone-pave the steeper bits as the damage from the bike wheels was just too great. And all this damage was done in just one or two years of biking, after 50+ years of walking had not created such damage.

> the worst trail damage I've ever come across was from dirt bikes.
Yeah, I can agree with that.
Mind you, cattle grazing and horse riding has been just as bad on anything not dead flat. I remember going up a track that was about two feet deep due to cattle and horse once.

Cheers

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Trail Damage on 01/06/2013 17:33:23 MST Print View

I put together some thoughts, pictures, and YouTube links. Because posting and formatting here is tedious with longish ramblings, I posted in on my website.

Click Here.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Trail Damage on 01/06/2013 18:05:52 MST Print View

"I put together some thoughts, pictures, and YouTube links."

A very well thought out essay, Nick. The conclusions are hard to disagree with. I hope it leads to further discussion here.